A Welsh pipe band performing at The Cliffs of Moher on St. Patrick's Day 2010 - photo courtesy Cliffs of Moher Facebook

One of the must see attractions in County Clare are the Cliffs of Moher. These spectacular cliffs on Clare’s Atlantic coastline are so photogenic and well-known, that even people who have never been to Ireland, recognize them in photos. I have visited them many times. The dramatic view has always been breathtaking and humbling, so the factor that makes two visits stand out from the others for me, would be the weather.

The first of these two particularly memorable visits to the Cliffs took place the day Declan and I brought Kate there during an October Bank Holiday weekend the year we lived in Ireland. A perfect example of how difficult it is to pin down or predict Irish weather, that October day was one of a small handful of warm, sunny days we experienced in Ireland that year. I have photos showing us basking in the sun wearing sunglasses with our – always handy – sweaters tied around our waists. If I didn’t tell you those photos were taken in the West of Ireland you might think we were on a sun holiday in the Mediterranean! Aside from the weather, that day was particularly fun for me because I was able to share with Kate a place I fell in love with during my first visit to Ireland.

Another visit to The Cliffs of Moher which stands out for me, was a quick stop I insisted upon while Declan, 4-year-old Eóin and I were traveling from Doolin to Declan’s aunt and uncle’s home in County Cork. Even though the weather that day was brutal, with gale force winds and showers, it just didn’t seem right to drive past a phenomenal place like the Cliffs of Moher without stopping. We wrapped ourselves in jackets and scarves and made the long windy trek up the steps holding our hoods up over our heads and most importantly, holding on to Eóin for dear life! Having never experienced the kind of wind found at the top of the Cliffs of Moher when nature is showing its full force, I was very naive to want to pay a visit on that particular day. I remember that we could barely hear each other’s voices, however, neither Declan nor myself needed to tell the other to hold on tight to little Eóin! We went up – took a quick look at the Cliffs in their most brutal and harsh embodiment – and then quickly turned around and headed for the car, County Cork and a very pleasant meal in a Mitchelstown Pub with Declan’s relatives. That day there were no screeching, white seagulls  flying along the sharp, grey-black walls of the cliffs. That day it was only wind and mist, which turned into rain before we made it to our car.

I’m sure when we are in Clare at the end of this month the draw of the Cliffs of Moher will pull us back again for another awe-inspiring visit, but we will be more selective about what conditions we are willing to endure to visit this moody old friend!